U.S. Army Fails to Meet Recruitment Goal by 25% This Year

Lauren Shank | October 5, 2022 | 3:45pm EDT
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A US soldier stands near a Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) during a joint military exercise between forces of the US-led "Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve" coalition against the Islamic State (IS) group and members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the countryside of the town of al-Malikiya (Derik in Kurdish) in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province on September 7, 2022. (Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A US soldier stands near a Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) during a joint military exercise between forces of the US-led Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve; coalition against the Islamic State (IS) group and members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the countryside of the town of al-Malikiya (Derik in Kurdish) in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province on September 7, 2022. (Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – While the Army is short of its goal by about 15,000 soldiers, the only service to not meet its target, all other military services have also struggled to find qualified young people willing to enlist this fiscal year.

As the new fiscal year began Oct. 1, the Marine Corps normally enters it with up to 50% of their recruiting goal secured, but instead is a little above 30%, The Associated Press reported. Meanwhile, the Air Force averages meeting about 25% of their recruitment goal as they start the new fiscal year, but only has about 10% secured. The Navy also has about 10% of their goal. 

“‘In the Army’s most challenging recruiting year since the start of the all-volunteer force, we will only achieve 75% of our fiscal year 22 recruiting goal,’ Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said in a statement to The Associated Press. ‘The Army will maintain its readiness and meet all our national security requirements. If recruiting challenges persist, we will draw on the Guard and Reserve to augment active-duty forces, and may need to trim our force structure.’”

With 60,000 soldiers as the goal for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, officials said the Army brought in about 45,000, according to The Associated Press. 

Looking at fiscal year 2021 and 2020, the Army met 100% of their recruitment goal. In fiscal year 2021, the Army brought in 57,606 soldiers with a goal of 57,500. In fiscal year 2020, the Army recruited 61,251 soldiers with the initial goal of 61,200. 

Increased enlistment bonuses and other programs were utilized by military leaders in an attempt to boost enlistment numbers, but will seemingly become more difficult to compete with the private industry.

If military enlistment continues to decline, “the Pentagon may have to reassess its force requirements and find ways to make the military a more attractive profession to the eroding number of young Americans who can meet mental and physical requirements for service.”

Recruiting shortcomings are resulting from a multitude of factors such as: a two-year long pandemic that forced recruiters out of schools and public events and into a virtual format, companies offering tuition benefits and other perks that were once unique to the military, and the estimate that only 23% of young people meet the fitness, educational, and moral military requirements. Those with medical issues, criminal records, and tattoos are also disqualified.

“It’s unclear how much the debate over the COVID-19 vaccine is playing in the recruiting struggles. So far, the Army has discharged a bit more than 1,700 soldiers for refusing to take the mandated vaccine. That’s a tiny fraction of the overall force size,” The Associated Press stated.

During the Sept. 15 Armed Services Committee hearing on the recruiting challenges, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) stated, “The military is a family business, 80% of our force has a family member presently enlisted. After watching this administration’s blunder in Afghanistan, tossing 20 years of sacrifice down the drain, why would a veteran encourage their child to sign up?” 

“This administration doesn’t inspire our youth about America. It paints our service members as extremists, white supremacists, but [they] are surprised that only 9% of young people even want to serve. That’s a small, small pool.”

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